JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Jefferson City nonprofit sprung into action the day after the EF-3 tornado ripped through multiple businesses and homes about one month ago.
Building Community Bridges (BCB), which was formed just over a year ago, is an organization focused on teaching children entrepreneurial skills and helping develop each child's talent.
Alicia White-Edwards, director of operations, recalled how they responded the day after the storm.
"We just knew we had to do something, so we started making phone calls local businesses and putting Facebook messages out there, and making posts to try to get the donations in, and we, as you can see have gotten plenty of stuff in," she said.
The founder of BCB, Douglas O. Wright III, said they were providing shelter for people displaced by the storm at first, but then it grew into much more.
White-Edwards said they were not focused on disaster relief until right after the storm. The donations poured in and the free store was opened.
Now the organization is providing food, cleaning supplies, clothing and other items that have been donated, free of charge, to anyone in need.
Wright said the organization is serving 30 to 40 people per day.
BCB also provides families with furniture and other larger items. White-Edwards said people can write what they need on a list and BCB will contact them if the item has been donated.
She said the biggest concern for the organization is getting money and furniture donations.
"People are going back home now, or they are finding places to live, but they have no beds, they have no furniture," White-Edwards said. "So while were able to supply them with the donations that came in as far as cleaning products and household stuff, we cannot pay their bills, pay their rent, and focus on our own bills and rent here as well."
Wright said this is exactly what he had hoped for when he started the organization. "It is a vision coming to life to me, you know, it lets me know that building community bridges was started for this reason, you know, to bring us together," he said.
Building Community Bridges is open to anyone in need Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and from 3 p.m. to 5p.m.
The organization also receives donations on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To donate or volunteer, go to the Building Community Bridge Facebook page to send a message or call 573-616-2845.